Saturday, October 24, 2015

Like a dog with a bone

Mama P's gorgeous tail.
Mama P: Could you pass the hay please?
So, let's talk horsehair.

Thought I'd given it up, didn't you?

Nope. Not when there are so many of these little guys around, eating me out of house and home. 

Retired ponies don't have a lot to offer in return for all that hay they inhale. 

Except maybe their hair. 

And so I stumble on. Obsessed with horsehair.

I didn't post the last couple or ten iterations of horsehair creations, because, well, they were failures, one and all. And really, where's the joy in writing about failures unless there's also a success to wrap them all up in?

A stunning, breathtaking, jaw-dropping, heart-stopping success.

Haha, no, not there yet either.

But I do think I'm making progress.

I've learned a ton about weaving in the process. I even made myself a new wallet along the way,  while I was trying to work out the details of how to weave a tube. The wallet's made of jute, silk, and cotton. No horsehair, cause it turned out weaving a tube was really the least of my problems, but at least I have a working wallet now.

Most of what I've learned, I couldn't even begin to explain without boring the non-weavers out there to tears. I will say though that I have a much greater appreciation now for the subtleties involved in mixing fat threads with skinny threads. It's just not as straightforward as it might seem. Who knew? Well, expert weavers probably, but, really, how many of those are there these days? I rest my case.

My latest attempts were inspired by a workshop I took from Lisa Hill a few weekends ago. (To the two weavers out there, if you ever get a chance to take a workshop from her, don't ask questions. Just. Do. It. She is a fantastic, inspirational teacher.) The workshop was on a technique called deflected doubleweave. I wasn't going to go at first, cause I thought it was a little out of my league, but a friend twisted my arm and there I was one Saturday morning ready to see what it was all about.

If I ever finish the piece I started at the workshop, I'll post it, but really the most important things I learned weren't about deflected doubleweave at all, they were about me and horsehair.

First, the things I know about weaving wouldn't even fill a thimble, while the things to be known about weaving would fill all the seas and still overflow. So much to learn.

Second, floats. My horsehair solution is floats.

Floats are threads that, um, well, float on top of the fabric, across two or more threads, rather than interweaving over and under every other thread. Sometimes, as with beginners, floats are just mistakes (who me?), but they can also be used deliberately, to create texture and pattern.

I already knew about floats of course. But I didn't know about floats.

So, without further adieu, here's the latest iteration of horsehair weaving, en route, to the next wallet/pouch/bag, or whatever, now designed around a tube, using floats to highlight the hair. Not finished yet, but I'm too excited not to show it. The warp is a maroon cotton, the other weft is black linen. The hair came from Jesse's shiny, black mane. (And if ever there was a pony who needed to give something back...)

Ta da!

What obsession?

Thank you, Lisa, for the inspiration. 


  1. Wow! That is beautiful! And now I'm going to run away because I need another fiber hobby like I need a hole in the head :D

  2. Hey Susan, wonderful post (and I'm not just saying that because of your oh-so- kind words:)) Your solution is beautiful and the sheen of the horsehair is glorious. My only regret is that I have been planning to blog about how much I loved and was inspired by the Columbus class, and you beat me to it!!

    In one of the recent issues of Handwoven, there is an article by Patricia Mirton about weaving journals using iris leaves. There might be some info you could use for finishing if your interested.

    Those pony mugs are pretty irresistible.